We recently returned from the Norwegian Sun on an 11 day mid-November cruise out of Miami. It was an excellent bargain as it traveled over Thanksgiving but left so early and we managed to eek out an inside cabin for USD499 plus tax and port charges.
We really enjoyed the cruise and the ship and had absolutely no complaints at all. I had been on NCL before on shorter cruises and the longest cruise had been 10 days on a Holland America ship so this was quite a treat. You can read about the ports on this blog elsewhere. This is all about the on-board experience.
The itinerary for the trip included Aruba, Curacao, Colombia (Cartagena), St. Martin and St. Thomas and those are all covered elsewhere. The ship held about 2,000 passengers and never did it feel crowded or that you couldn’t find a seat at a restaurant or a chair at the pool. The staff were incredibly friendly and our special request at dinner was handled flawlessly by Grace in the main dining room.
One thing that was great and a lot of fun was the daily (yes, every day) happy hour from 4 to 6 in the Observation Lounge on the NCL Sun. I’ve been on a lot of cruises and don’t recall seeing that type of deal anywhere else. Others mentioned that too. In any case, it was always a lot of fun and very social. Passengers gathered on the deck outside to soak in the scenery as we departed ports too.
We enjoyed being able to eat when we wanted and wherever we wanted and didn’t have to worry about dressing up – which we did one time when we went to Le Bistro – highly suggest doing that. The food was excellent and we enjoyed checking out the menu and figuring out where to have dinner. The dining room really was superbly run and the food great with the exception of the fried chicken which was pretty awful – I even had the waiter bring out another plate of it since I thought it was some strange mistake – the second plate was okay but if you like fried chicken, this was not good. But the waiter certainly offered to find me something else. This was the sole exception – everything was superb in the dining room and Le Bistro was out of this world. Even the buffet restaurant was good.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Great Outdoors all the way aft with its two buffet lines and its bar. It makes for a great place to relax and watch the world go by. The people watching was also great too. We don’t smoke and never had a problem with it on the ship – there was an area upstairs here that you can smoke outdoors for those that crave places to smoke that are convenient to bars. Staff were totally efficient here too.
The Champagne Bar was a great people-watching spot too and Bong, the Filipino bartender was a lot of fun and shared his magic tricks with us. The shops were great too on board and the duty free shop was more than adequate. The card room was nice the one time we used it to relax and people seemed to be having fun in there – first time I’d used a card room on a ship in fact. We also used the gym and spa and found the gym very nice and the sauna and steam room adequate (but small) and the locker room clean. It is really difficult to come up with anything that wasn’t excellent on the ship. I would highly suggest this ship and this itinerary. In fact, when we got back we tried to book this same ship on a different itinerary but were not able to make up our mind in time and it had sold out. Excellent value and superior service in a casual but classy environment is what this ship is all about. Bon Voyage.